Nine Ways To Make Peace With Your Body

Nine Ways To Make Peace With Your Body

There was a time when I was at a really low weight that was harming my health.  I had overtrained and dieted for years and it had caught up with me.  At the same time, I began to notice that I had to work harder and harder to “stay thin”.  I was trapped in a diet and exercise prison and my body was breaking down.  I decided to make a change and focus on self care instead of what the scale reads or what size clothes I own.

Part of my new “self care” plan was to allow myself to gain weight and accept my natural body type.  It turns out I’m naturally curvy and much healthier with additional pounds on my body.

If you are someone that has tried every diet under the sun and nothing has worked, I want you to know that you did not fail.  Dieting failed you.   Science continues to prove that dieting does not work, and it can do you more harm than good.

Instead of blaming yourself, feeling guilty, or searching for yet another diet, I recommend doing something completely different.

Quit dieting for good.  Make peace with your body.  Switch your focus to taking care of yourself and enjoying your life.  Life is too short to waste it on restrictive dieting that doesn’t work and can harm your health.

Making peace with your body may be one of the most challenging and liberating things you will ever do for yourself.  It rarely happens overnight, and it is an ongoing process.  However, the more you focus on self care and less on what the diet industry sells, the more comfortable in your own skin you will become.  I promise.

Here are nine tips to help you say no to dieting and yes to making peace with your body:

  1. Ditch the guilt.  Please don’t blame yourself for the diet industry’s failures and misguided approach to health and fitness.  You are not a failure.  Science is on your side.
  2. Avoid comparison to others.  Just because the latest fad diet or high intensity work out is working for your friend does not mean it is right for you.  We all have different needs and abilities.  No two bodies are alike which is why a canned approach to health and fitness does not work.
  3. Ditch your scale.  If you feel depressed the majority of the time you weigh yourself, the scale IS NOT helping you.  I suggest tossing it in the recycle bin or locking it in a closet.  Taking a sledgehammer to it is another option. 🙂
  4. Listen to your body and your cravings.  Ever crave a salad after eating decadent food for three days?  That’s your body’s way of telling you what you need.  When you let go of guilt and shame and focus on getting your body what it needs, you will seek out eating balanced meals.
  5. Have fun.  Restrictive behavior causes stress and creates a scarcity mentality which can lead to binging.  Allow yourself to enjoy food without worrying about calories.  Being happy and joyful serves your mind and body well.
  6. Healthy bodies come in all sizes.  Over the years I’ve trained people of all sizes and I’ve learned that you should not judge someone’s health by their size.  I’ve had the opportunity to perform numerous health assessments and review enough doctor’s reports to learn that good health really does come in different shapes and sizes.
  7. Take the focus off of weight loss.  A “natural” body weight is normally a weight that you can maintain without restricting yourself from the things you enjoy, or beating yourself to a pulp at the gym.  We all have our own natural weight where our body is most comfortable and can maintain itself.  We also  know when we are overdoing it any area of our lives and if there are things we should cut back on like sugar, alcohol, etc.  Practicing moderation should be about your health, not about numbers on the scale.  When you focus on truly being healthy instead of skinny, weight loss is often times a natural byproduct.
  8. Give yourself room to grow.  Just because we make peace with our bodies does not mean we will always like everything about them and that’s normal.  Being at peace with your body is making the choice to love it and take care of it rather than harm it or manipulate it in pursuit of happiness or acceptance.  I’m way happier at the weight I am now because I am free from the pressures of dieting.
  9. Wear what you like.  You do not have to change your body to wear a swimsuit, tank top, skinny jeans, or any other type of clothing that may seem off limits based on society’s shallow opinions.  Wear what you want and enjoy yourself.

A healthy lifestyle is a total package that has very little to do with what a scale reports.  Healthy living includes things like having healthy relationships, working with purpose, exercising or participating in physical activity you enjoy, having enough energy, eating well and dining with the ones you love, having fun, loving yourself and the people around you, eliminating unnecessary stress, getting good rest, drinking lots of water, getting good check ups at the doctor’s office, growing spiritually and emotionally, and having self-confidence in who you were designed to be.

Here’s to making peace with your body and no longer allowing the fitness and diet industry’s narrow definition of what “healthy” looks like to control our lives and emotions!

Shared with love,

Jennifer

Photo above is by Petar Dopchev on Unsplash

 

Taking Care Of Yourself Isn’t Selfish, It’s Necessary

Taking Care Of Yourself Isn't Selfish, It's Necessary

There was a time when I used to burn the candle at both ends and it was exhausting.  From the outside I looked like a go-getter, but on the inside I was falling apart.  I had hit the wall emotionally, mentally, and physically.   I had focused on taking care of everyone except myself.  Out of necessity, I decided to start taking better care of myself and that’s when I decided to focus on total health, wellness, and self care.

After spending some time researching the term “self care”, I’ve figured out that there are different opinions and theories as to what self care is and it’s going to be personal and different for everyone.  In general, self-care is any activity that you deliberately do to contribute to your mental, emotional, and physical health in a positive way.  While that may sound simple, self care is something that is often ignored because the only one you are accountable to is yourself, and it’s easy to break dates with ourselves.

When it comes to self care, or doing things for yourself, one of the top reasons people report putting themselves on the back burner is a feeling of guilt.  Focusing time and attention on yourself is too often considered selfish.  Unfortunately, while it might seem noble or even necessary to sacrifice taking care of your mind, body, and spirit, over time it’s a recipe for burnout.

Taking time to take care of your mind and body is good for you and it’s certainly not selfish.  In fact, research is showing us that the pursuit of health and happiness is far from selfish.   When we practice self care, we’re likely to see an improvement in many areas of our lives, including our physical health and wellness, our relationships, and even our income. Plus, by making the choice to take good care of ourselves, we open up our capacity to care for others which helps contribute positively to the world around us.  It’s much easier to give to others when you feel well taken care of.  Self care is not a luxury it’s a necessity.

here is a list of thirty eight self care ideas to help you get started

  1. Give yourself permission to say no.
  2. Do your best to step outside every day.
  3. Stop and stretch once an hour.
  4. Drink plenty of water.
  5. Get at least 7 ½ hours of sleep a night.
  6. Laugh daily.
  7. Say nice things about yourself.
  8. Listen to music.
  9. Dance.
  10. Exercise.
  11. Delegate and ask for help. 
  12. Get a manicure, pedicure, haircut, etc.
  13. Ditch the guilt and justification around doing something for yourself.
  14. Move your body in a way that feels good. 
  15. Buy a new outfit.
  16. Decorate or change up the looks of your surroundings. 
  17. Ask for what you need.
  18. Accept compliments. 
  19. Journal.
  20. Pray.
  21. Meditate.
  22. Allow yourself to have a hobby.
  23. Work on your car.
  24. Fix or build something.
  25. Buy something new for yourself.
  26. Have lunch with a friend who makes you feel good about yourself.
  27. Go on a date with your spouse or significant other.
  28. Read a book or magazine.
  29. Go to the beach.
  30. Play with your pets.
  31. Take a bath.
  32. Attend happy hour at your favorite restaurant or bar.
  33. Plan a vacation or day trip.
  34. Light a candle.
  35. Order takeout.
  36. Get a babysitter.
  37. Browse antique shops and thrift stores.
  38. Hang out at the book store.

Because self care is so personal, I encourage you to make a list of your own ideas that you can pull from weekly or even daily.  For example, some people might list “go to the gym” as self care while others would prefer a “stroll on a beach.”  Self care should not have stress attached to it.  The whole point of self care is that you look forward to whatever you choose, it recharges you, and it lowers stress.

Here’s to taking care of yourself and living a long and happy life!

Shared with love,

Jennifer

How To Worry Less And Enjoy More Peace In Your Life

 

How To Worry Less And Enjoy More Peace In Your Life

It’s normal to be concerned from time to time. Everyday life can throw us challenges and some of them can be serious.  However, constantly worrying can drain your energy,  negatively affect your health, and kill productivity.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can worry occasionally.  Especially when I am walking through unfamiliar territory.  However, over the years I’ve learned to worry less and less. Here are ten of my top tips to help keep worry away and live a more peaceful and healthy life.

1) Pray.  The more I survive the tough times in my life the more I learn to trust God to deliver me through anything else that comes my way.  I’ve learned that worry doesn’t change anything, and that prayer combined with belief, has the power to change EVERYTHING.  This is especially helpful when the issue is totally out of my control.

2) Don’t worry about things you can’t control.  It does no good to worry about things you cannot control.  Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to change the situation.  If the answer is no and you are spiritual, I highly recommend you pray and turn it over to God.  This especially applies to situations involving other people because the only person on the planet you can change is yourself.

3) Take action. Worry and stress can be a signal that something needs to be addressed and/or changed.  Once you’ve figured out what you can do to eliminate the worry and/or stress it’s time to take action.  Things may not change overnight, however there is great satisfaction in knowing that you are moving forward and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

4) Write about it.  Journaling is a great way to put your thoughts on paper and objectively look at the situation from the outside.  After you read your thoughts back to yourself, the problem may become smaller and the solutions can begin to pour in.

5) Say no. Learning to say no has been life changing for me.  Saying yes to too many things can lead to over-committing, over-promising and sometimes even compromising our values and priorities. Being able to set boundaries and protect your time and energy can eliminate huge amounts of stress in your life.  Most people won’t mind if you say something like, “Thank you for asking.  I don’t have the time in my schedule right now to commit to something new.  However I appreciate you including me.”  If you’d like to leave the door open you can always ask them to ask you again in the future.

6) Set priorities. Worry can pop up when our “to do” list seems out of control.  When I start to feel overwhelmed,  I like to do a “mind dump” and write down every thing that I believe I need to do.  This allows me to clear my head, focus, and prioritize what needs to be done immediately and what needs to be scheduled for a future date.  It also reveals what you may need to hire someone else to help you with.  Do it yourself has become so popular these days that sometimes we bite off more than we can chew.

7) Tell worry to take a hike.  Your words have power.  When worrisome thoughts begin to race through your mind, tell them to  “stop.” If you can, say it out loud. If that’s not possible, do it mentally or just move your lips without making a sound.

8) Expect to succeed. Instead of imagining how badly things might turn out, imagine yourself succeeding. Picture yourself waltzing through meet and greets, family events, evaluations, or any other events that typically cause you anxiety. Hear yourself performing well at presentations or while guiding your children. Feel what it would be like to overcome obstacles, accomplish goals, and achieve peaceful outcomes. Expecting success can increase the possibility that it will happen. It can increase your confidence, decrease your worry and set up an expectation that things will turn out well.  It’s also helpful to remember that success doesn’t always show itself right away.  For example, that  break up you experienced was actually a door that led you to the spouse you were meant to be with.  🙂

9) Focus on others. It’s easy to get wrapped up with what’s going on in our own world.  One of the ways I relieve stress is by serving other people.  When I focus on helping others solve their problems or reach their goals, my own issues seem to get smaller and more manageable.

10) Most things we worry about never happen.  Current research shows us that most of the time the things we worry about never happen.  A recent study researched how many of our imagined problems never happen. It turns out that 85 percent of what the people in the study group worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of the people discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than they thought, or the challenge taught them a lesson they were glad they learned. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not worth sacrificing your health and your joy.

There is no such thing as a problem free life.  However, when you make the decision to let go of worrying about the things you can’t control and focus on the things you can control you are bound to have more peace in your life. And, as an added bonus, It might just make you look a bit younger as well. 🙂

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and peaceful week!

Shared with love,

Jennifer

Photo by Ana Gabriel on Unsplash